Stoma problems are not uncommon. They occur from time to time, and from case to case. Most of these issues are not severe and are preventable by adjusting your routine, switching to a different product, or making a diet change.
That said, we are now going to talk about the most common stoma complications.
Stoma skin problems
Perhaps the most common stoma complication is related to the skin around the stoma. Not only can the peristomal skin complications turn out to be quite uncomfortable for the patient, but they can also compromise the seal formed between the wafer and the skin, leading to the leakage and further skin problems.
One of the reasons for the occurrence of skin complications is the fecal contact with the skin. This contact can lead to soreness and irritation. The stomal output can be more acidic and corrosive if you have an ileostomy. You have to make sure that your stomal output is not coming in contact with the skin.
Another reason is the ill-fitting of stoma appliances. Every ostomy appliance comprises a skin barrier, which has a hole to make the wafer fit around the stoma. Ill-fitting is when that hole doesn’t fit the size and shape of the stoma. Any part of the skin that remains exposed under the skin barrier is susceptible to skin complications. If your stoma is not of regular shape and size, you may benefit from cut-to-fit ostomy pouching systems.
A stoma has a lot of blood vessels all over its exposed and unexposed surface. The most common reason for the stoma bleeding to occur is the bag rubbing around the stoma. Sometimes, bleeding occurs when you clean the stoma. If the bleeding occurs from inside the stoma, you need to contact your doctor or ostomy care nurse immediately because it might be a problem inside the intestinal tract. You can prevent external bleeding by being careful with your stoma.
Retraction and prolapse
Stoma protrudes slightly from the surface of the abdominal wall. The length of the protrusion depends on the type of ostomy you have. A stoma retraction refers to the less or no protrusion of stoma, which can lead to the ill-fitting of the ostomy bag. Generally, you can take care of stoma retraction by using ostomy bags with convex wafers.
Another issue is the prolapse, which involves the stoma extending beyond normal. Health issues that might cause prolapse may include weakness of the abdominal wall, rapid weight gain, and large incision in the abdominal wall. A prolapsed stoma can make it impossible for the fesses to pass through it. You can use a different ostomy bag to put your stoma at ease. If the prolapse is severe, you can discuss the option of re-siting of your stoma with your surgeon.